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tv   Nightline  ABC  January 31, 2012 11:35pm-12:00am EST

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tonight on "nightline," newt-ron bomb, mitt romney destroys newt gingrich. the battle is far from over. tonight gingrich vows to come back again. can herman cain help him overcome all the negativity? >> everybody has baggage. >> losing big. she weighed in at a jaw-dropping 673 pounds, a prisoner in her own skin until the day she decided enough is enough. one woman's seven-year journey from this to this. and life is really good. meet two brothers with 100 million reasons to think life is great. a lucrative clothing empire
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that's all about reasons to feel better and buy, even when the economy is down. good evening, i'm terry moran. here's the latest, the department of homeland security tonight has informed the presidential campaign of mitt romney that he will begin receiving secret service protection this week on a day when romney just demolished his closest opponent newt gingrich in the florida primary. it all looks to many like romney is gearing up to take on president obama in the fall although there are a lot of folks who see it very differently starting with newt gingrich. here's tonight's coverage of "your voice, your vote." >> thanks, you guys. >> reporter: mitt romney, call him the new comeback kid. or maybe romney's the gangsta
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just a few days ago polls showed him slipping behind newt gingrich who was surging after his big win in south carolina last week. >> i would love to understand how it is that speaker gingrich characterizes himself as more conservative than me. >> reporter: then romney and his allies unloaded. the romney forces fired an unprecedented barrage of harshly negative ads at gingrich. they outspent the gingrich team by a staggering $15.4 million to 3.4 million. only one of the thousands of romney ads that aired was positive. >> mitt romney -- [ speaking spanish ] >> reporter: even enlisting tom brokaw, when he was reprimanded and fined by his colleagues in the house of representatives. >> tonight he has on his own record the judgment of his peers. >> reporter: it all worked and newt knew it even as he vowed to fight on.
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>> and we're going to have people power defeat money power in the next six months. >> reporter: so what happened here and more importantly, what comes next? we hit the road on the final day on the campaign trail in florida. and what we found crisscrossing the state from jacksonville to tampa and back to orlando -- >> thank you. >> reporter: -- was that in florida size matters. it's a huge state and romney had a huge hoard of cash to spend. heart matters too. >> thank you so much. >> thank you so much. >> reporter: in jacksonville, monday morning, only a paltry few gingrich supporters turned out in a hotel conference room. but they love him in a way you rarely see with romney voters. >> did you like coming out here today? yeah, why? >> because i like newt. >> reporter: you like newt. that's justin. his dad is a true blue newt fan. >> he is there for the american people and i don't see any other
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candidate articulating it with the force and ability he has and the proven track record to do it. >> reporter: show on late night. you knew it was going to happen. herman cain is back. remember for a few weeks before allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior which he denied drove him from the race, it was cain who captured the beating conservative heart soaring past romney in the polls with blunt talk and big ideas. >> now i've been told by some people you can't get that done. why? because you don't know how washington work, yes, i do. it doesn't. >> reporter: after first endorsing the people cain is backing gingrich and both hope the same restless tea party energy in the republican party that cain captured can sustain gingrich. >> i hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse newt gingrich for president of the united states. >> reporter: both men carry the
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scars of scandal and cain's are still clearly fresh. what do you think of the baggage that people talk about when they talk about newt gingrich? >> terry, everybody has baggage. some of it is real. some of it is not real. there's no perfect candidate. >> reporter: do you have a regret about the way your campaign ended? >> i am angry about the way my campaign ended. i'm a human being. when your campaign is forced to end because of false accusations, yes, that makes me angry. >> reporter: it was another small crowd for gingrich in tampa, but halfway across the state it was a different story. in the village, a sprawling retirement community, romney drew a huge crowd for his last rally before the voting began. and clearly feeling buoyant he led them in song. ♪ america america god shed his
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grace on thee ♪ >> reporter: but like so many romney crowds, they're subdued, respectful but he doesn't seem to light them up. moaning buys a lot but it can't buy love. when you listen to them, you hear one big thing, not so much about romney but about obama. they want to beat him in the fall. >> what brought you out here. >> i think we needed change in the government. the way things are going right now there are a lot of people that are not very happy because we feel that the obama administration sort of seems like it's anti-capitalistic, you know. >> my leadership will end the obama era and begin a new era of american prosperity. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: so even as he basked in victory tonight and turned his attacks towards president obama, mitt romney knew this fight would continue. he hasn't sealed the deal. now, a big win for romney.
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we'll turn the page away from politics to an incredible seven-year journey this mother lost almost 500 pounds. and we'll show you how she did it. [ hermann ] there's always something that's going to have to be done by a certain date. you always have homework, okay? i don't have homework today. it's what's right here is what is most important to me. it's beautiful. ♪ ♪ it's an amazing service that lets you watch unlimited movies and tv episodes instantly over the internet. you watch netflix on your pc or on your tv. best of all, netflix is only eight bucks a month. ♪
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never in my lifetime did i think i could walk 60 milesesn 3 days. if my mom can fight and beat breast cancer, i can walk 60 miles. (woman) the fund-raising was the easiest part. people were very giving.g. complete strangers wanting to help. i knew someday i was gonna do this walk. if i can do this, you definitely can do this. we can do this. we can all do this together. (man) register today for the... and receive $25 off your registration fee. because everyone deserves a lifetime.
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tell the story when the story is one woman locked in a fight for her life against a weight problem that was slowly taking away her ability to move. and even recognize herself. almost 700 pounds. that was her peak weight. but then came the climactic moment when she made the decision that she would beat her addiction or die trying. here's abc's juju chang. >> it's not like i sit up and say, ooh, i want to grow up to be the world's biggest lady. i want to be 700 pounds. it just happened. >> reporter: at her heaviest, melissa morris weighed a jaw-dropping 673 pounds. >> the hardest thing about being in public with my weight, you get lots of looks and some are sympathetic, some are, oh, you dirty waste. >> reporter: melissa became a
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prisoner inside her morbidly obese body fearful of the stares and ridicule rarely leaving the house. >> if you get bigger you'll need a wagon. >> reporter: after years of misery melissa made a decision to save her own life. >> this is my fat skirt. >> reporter: this is her today after losing almost 500 pounds. this is unbelievable. we could easily fit two more people in here. >> and it was seriously this tight on me. >> reporter: it was tight on you. >> i ate all day long when i was home by myself. what one would eat in a week i would eat in a day. two or three two-liters of soda. a whole thing of cookies. i never felt full. i literally never felt full. >> reporter: melissa began an epic seven-year-long weight loss journey and allowed tlc to follow her. one involved confronting painful realities. she says she ate and ate to
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cover up the scars of her troubled childhood. >> there was molestation when i was 5. >> reporter: you were covering that up. >> i was trying to be as ugly as possible. because people don't molest ugly people. >> reporter: her husband chris became her enabler feeding melissa around the clock. >> it would be nothing for me to bring home two big macs, chocolate bars, soda pop. >> reporter: at 673 pounds she could no longer care for herself. >> i couldn't take my shower by myself. i had a hard time fitting into the bathroom door. i had to go in sideways. >> the most important thing as a fat woman, perfume spray because no matter how many times you take a bath how much you wash, how much you try, you end up smelling. >> reporter: melissa finally hit rock bottom when her size kept her from visiting her mother in the hospital. >> and i couldn't get to her bedside. >> reporter: why? >> i couldn't get my scooter into her hospital room. that's when i said, i'm either
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doing this or i'm dying. >> i'm excited. i'm scared. >> reporter: her extreme obesity led to an extreme decision. at her weight gastric bypass is very risky. other doctors suggested she lose weight first. >> patients are extremely overweight, they have high risk during anesthesia, any moment they can have cardiac respiratory event that may terminate their life. >> i was thinking honestly, i'd rather die on this table trying to get this surgery than live the life i'm living. >> reporter: how quickly did the weight come off? >> very quickly. very, very quickly. >> come on in, melissa. >> reporter: in just one month she lost 100 pounds. enough for melissa to start living life again. >> i had to wait till chris got home. now he complains, you always get the mail. >> reporter: experiencing moments most of us take for granted. >> can you hold this for me. >> reporter: like being able to
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squeeze into the back of a regular car. >> i fit. >> reporter: the first time in years. >> what was going through your mind? >> oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh. but probably to be honest i could be thinner. >> reporter: always that. >> always, always is, okay, i could fit here but -- but -- >> reporter: yeah. >> but there was always a but. >> reporter: another triumptriu. fitting into a pair of jeans again. >> oh, my gosh. they fastened. i got jeans on. >> reporter: but the new melissa had to struggle with the old melissa's demon. >> i get really depressed and it just got easier to give in to my cravings. >> reporter: so you can get rid of the fat but you can't get rid of the heartache. >> you can't get rid of it. every pound was a pound of protection. >> reporter: what's the hard part? >> the hardest part is dealing with the emotions. sometimes you miss the fat me. >> reporter: as the pounds melted away it exposed a
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marriage held together by rules that no longer applied. >> weed out because you're hungry. >> yeah, i am. >> unfortunately my husband and i had our caregiver/patient kind of relationship. i let him take care of me. i started to be like don't take care of me. i became frustrated and would snap at him. he would become frustrated because he didn't know where he fit in so it became how do we belong? how do we fit together. >> hey, how are you. >> reporter: while her marriage was in crisis she was still dealing with the damage seed's done to her body. >> oh. >> reporter: after shedding hundreds of pounds melissa had to have surgery to get rid of the gruesome layers of skin and fat. >> my stomach hanged down past my knees. it was just skin. nothing i could do would tighten that up. so all the heat and all the movement and everything was causing rashes and the smell and it was almost as worse as being fat.
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>> reporter: the doctors removed 60 pounds of extra skin which was donated to burn victims. to this day, melissa still has to deal with excess skin. rye do you wear a corset? >> i have a lot of excess skin. even though you've seen all those surgeries i still have a lot of excess skin. >> reporter: melissa became a mom and now has a career working for the doctor who performed all her surgeries. counseling others. >> how are you doing? >> oh, i'm okay. >> reporter: yet seven years and nearly 500 pounds later, you'd be surprised at what melissa still sees in the mirror. >> sure, i look like a normal person but i'm still 673 pounds. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm juju chang in life. >> congratulations to her. "my 600-pound life" premieres tomorrow night on tlc. next up, the power of positive thinking. how positive literally made these brothers rich.
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a sense of security about the future is one thing you can't buy, but the idea that the future is bright, that, in fact, can be sold. tonight the story of two brothers who turned a simple line drawing and a sunny outlook into consumer gold even during a recession. here's abc's john berman. ♪ >> reporter: why is this man smiling? well, it is a smile worth more than 100 million bucks. so you make t-shirts. >> yep. >> reporter: a lot of t-shirts.
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>> a lot of t-shirt, yeah, but we do more than anything is try to spread good vibes. >> reporter: spreading and selling good vibes. these smiling moguls are busht and john jacobs, chief executive optimist, and chief creative optimist of the clothing company simply called life is good. how many products do you make? >> i have no idea. >> reporter: okay, so they aren't your average corporate titans but they sell about 600 products, mostly centered around a goofy big-mouthed beret wearing stick figure named jake. jake started as a doodle in 1994, a tale we told by bert at a commencement address. so my brother drew the very first jake. that was 16 years ago and he hasn't done a damn thing since. >> reporter: with jake the brothers went from hawking t-shirts from the back of their many voyager to a brand worth over $100 million.
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>> you notice he has a little facial growth. >> reporter: the life is good motto, do what you like and like what you do. but with all the unemployment and sagging home prices and gloom and does, are they selling honesty. >> it is not like people abandon optimism. optimism is its most powerful during trying times. people need something to help them keep their chin up. >> reporter: they are the youngest of six kids raised outside boston on a street named sunnyside road. did you think they'd amount to anything when they were young? >> no. >> reporter: what gets life is good down? >> rainy days and mondays, no. >> one thing that gets me down is that capitalism has a bad name and maybe -- maybe it gets what it deserves but rereally believe that capitalism is a powerful tool for positive
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social change. >> who wants to fly with their cape. >> reporter: they raise a huge amount of money to represent at-risk children to let kids just be kids and play. >> you can't fly a 4-year-old down in a psychologist's couch and ask them how they're feeling about losing their parents or witnessing violence but if you allow them to play physically they can sort of regain that confidence, self-esteem. >> reporter: in closing if i were to ask you guys, you know, how is life? what would you say? >> life is good. you couldn't join in on that. >> it's just so -- sorry. please. >> reporter: i'm john berman for "nightline" in boston. >> well, good for them and thanks to john for that and thank you for watching abc news. tomorrow on "nightline," we're going to have a heartbreaking stor a

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